Juniper offers new SSL VPN appliances

Product line provides secure employee access to enterprise employees

Juniper Networks on Monday extended its lineup of hardware platforms for SSL VPNs (Secure Sockets Layer virtual private networks), rolling out new devices for small, medium-sized and large enterprises.

The Secure Access 700, 2000, 4000 and 6000 appliances run Juniper's IVE (Instant Virtual Extranet) software, which uses SSL encryption to secure data communications on remote connections, an extranet or an intranet. SSL is available on standard Web browsers, so rather than having to install and maintain a full VPN client on each user's device, Juniper can simply use the existing browser or lightweight software, said Niv Hanigal, product manager for the Secure Access line. That software can be downloaded and updated on the fly, over the network, he said. This makes SSL VPNs a less expensive alternative to traditional IPSec (Internet Security Protocol) VPNs, according to Hanigal.

The product line is designed for secure access to enterprise resources by employees in the main office or in remote locations, as well as by business partners that need access to certain kinds of data. It allows administrators to allow access only to certain kinds of resources based on who is using the VPN and from where, Hanigal said. For example, when using a corporate wireless LAN, an employee might have access to different kinds of information than when he or she is using the wired LAN, he said.

Juniper adds the new products to a lineup currently made up of the Secure Access 1000, 3000 and 5000 for enterprises and the Remote Access 500 for small and medium-sized businesses. Those platforms were introduced in 2001 by Neoteris, which was later acquired by NetScreen Technologies Inc. NetScreen, in turn, was acquired by Juniper last year as the growing router vendor sought a security portfolio.

With the new products come big boosts in processing power, memory, network interface capacity and other capabilities, Hanigal said.

The SA 6000 is the large-enterprise workhorse of the new lineup, with an SSL acceleration chipset that can encrypt traffic using the RC4 (Rivest Cipher 4), 3DES (Data Encryption Standard) and AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) protocols as well as compressing it, Hanigal said. The SA 6000 also has dual redundant hot-swappable hard drives that mirror data in real time to allow for smooth recovery in case of a failure. The SA 6000 can be used by as many as 2,500 clients at the same time, and as many as eight of the devices can be clustered together to support more than 10,000 concurrent users, Hanigal said.

The SA 4000 supports the same encryption protocols using a different SSL acceleration chipset. It has the capacity to handle as many as 1,000 concurrent users, Hanigal said. The SA 2000 can support as many as 100 users at a time, and the SA 700 is designed for 25 concurrent users.

The appliances can be ordered immediately from Juniper and its channel partners worldwide and should start arriving within the next few weeks, Hanigal said. In the U.S., pricing for the SA 700 starts at US$2,495 with a license for 10 concurrent users included. The SA 2000 costs $6,995 with 25 concurrent users, the SA 4000 costs $15,995 with 50 concurrent users and the SA 6000 is priced starting at $33,995 with 100 concurrent users.

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